Week one 2016 Legislative report

By Senator Scott Parsley

Week one of the 2016 session got underway with the Governor’s State of the State address, in which he outlined his plan for K-12 education, restated his support for expanding Medicaid, as well as outlining a number of additional areas the state will undertake this year.
The Governor outlined his plan for funding education which includes an additional one half cent sales and use tax. Under the Governor’s plan, approximately $62 million will go to education with $40 million going to property tax relief. The Governor’s plan would also move about $20 million from other taxes for funding the educators’ retirement program to education general funds which would in total be $82 million of what the Governor considers new funding. The Governor said that his plan will raise teacher pay to an average of $48,500.
The Democrats outlined our plan for funding education by implementing a one cent sales tax. This plan would generate about $120 million for education while exempting food from all state sales tax. The Democrat plan will result in an average teacher’s pay of $50,000.
I believe this issue will be one of the last issues settled in this session, so you will hear more as the session progresses.
The Governor again outlined the plan for Medicaid expansion. The plan will allow Tribal members to access medical services for certain procedures outside of Indian Health Services (IHS) facilities and the costs would be reimbursed at 100 percent as outlined in treaty obligations. Under the current Medicaid rules, if a Tribal member receives services outside of IHS, the state must pay 48 cents of every dollar. The state should have an answer to the proposal by the end of January.
As the session progresses, we will as always have a number of issues that will be debated, and I will update the legislative activities each week.
If you want to contact me my email is svpar@hotmail.com.
Scott Parsley
District 8 Senator

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